Freo's View


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 2, 2012

While I do understand the frustration of struggling Fremantle retailers, they need to be careful not to become one eyed about change and the protection of their own interests. Today’s whinge in the Fremantle Herald that the Mad Hatter Market at Kings Square is taking business away from the West End is a bit of a short fuse reaction, I believe.

Those traders complaining are well advised to read the The Portas Review by Mary Portas on  the future of our high streets. Although this was done in London, it has relevance to Fremantle. One thing the Portas Review highly recommends is free markets in inner cities, as they attract new people and business to town, and create vitality.

While retailers in Fremantle might only see the bad of the Mad Hatter Market, and possible loss of sales to market traders, it could also have a positive effect on the number of people coming here. The fresh food stall holders I just bought some steaks from tell me people from all over Perth come to their stall to buy meat. Hopefully they also stay in Fremantle for coffee, lunch or do other shopping here.

Roel Loopers

5 Responses

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  1. Antonia Taylor said, on March 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Speaking from the perspective of a retailer opposite Kings Square, the Oxfam Shop couldn’t be happier to see the markets alive again three days a week. It’s fantastic to see the square full of life with delicious food stalls, live music, some interesting stalls, and most of all shoppers! We have experienced only a positive impact on our trade over the last month and wholeheartedly believe that a dull, flat square is not good for our business. We would also like to commend the councils efforts to encourage people to stay in the square with free wi-fi and the outdoor library. It’s a lovely place to sit and eat lunch and see all the travellers on their laptops enjoying the Fremantle vibe. Lets try to foster a positive attitude towards enterprise that is making this great City even more vibrant than it already is.

    Antonia – Oxfam Store Manager


  2. Robert said, on March 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Wow. Great whinge by the Fremantle Herald this week. One of their recent best.

    So let me get this straight. The City of Fremantle stops paying someone $70,000 to hold a weekly market in Kings Square, a market that had become old and dreary and poorly patronised. The City of Fremantle stops paying that someone to hold a weekly market and so the market stops. Then someone comes to the City of Fremantle and says I would like to run a market every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and every day that a cruise ship is in port, but I don’t want any money from you, and by the way to make the market a success and bring more shoppers into Fremantle I will advertise the market on television, oh!, and by the way I am not asking you for money to do that either.

    So the new market starts with an amazing number of interesting stalls and products, attracting lots of people and trade. And results in a Kings Square that is becoming an impressive centre of our city, probably the busiest it has been for decades.

    And the Fremantle Herald found from that something to have a great big whinge about. Really! Truly amazing!!

    And how many business did the Fremantle Herald identify had complained about the new market. Oh! one, who claimed according to the Fremantle Herald to be speaking on behalf of all of the traders in High Street. Really! Obviously they didn’t check.

    Oh Fremantle, we really can do better than this!!!


  3. CathyHall said, on March 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Agree with Glen about “superior ” status of former kings sq Thursday markets, but we need more variety not less.

    What IS good about Mad Hatter is market-price, market fresh fruit in our city high street again.

    Looks like the Portas Report 2011 in action in Freo already! Go google it for bedtime reading & share with fellow traders 🙂


  4. freoview said, on March 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    You might well have a case for the market to be more selective about what it sells, and how what they sell impact on local retailers,Glen, but I feel that the market is more positive than negative and might just need some fine tuning.



  5. Glen C said, on March 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm


    Sorry I do not agree with you on this at all. Retailers do pay leases and other costly overheads and should not have to compete with markets in this fashion
    Having done a market in King’s Square for almost 7 years I do understand this. The original market concept was one of local talent, selling artisan’s goods that were not what was typically for sale in Freo. Kylie organised this well and in the days when Freo Council actually supported the market it flourished.

    New council gets in, stallholders are considered just “Carnies” and the council withdraws assistance, along with the GFC and our rising dollar deleting tourists from our streets, and it all goes flop.

    But in those days there were strict requirements so the market added to the mix instead of selling “anything with no restrictions” – and so I totally understand retailers concerns.

    Bring back a vibrant art market, featuring the talents of real artisans and you bring back the Bohemian vibe of Freo without competing with retailers, the mix worked so well for me that I was able to move on and upwards from the Village Art Market to today having my own succesful gallery in Freo.



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